elizabeh carter

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Topics: Stoicism
Elizabeth Carter, poet, writer, and translator, was born at Deal in Kent on 16 December 1717. She was the first child of Revd Nicolas Carter, preacher at Canterbury Cathedral, and his first wife, Margaret, daughter and heiress of Richard Swayne of Bere Regis, inheriting a fortune of £15,000 which according to Montagu Pennington, she lost it in the South Sea Bubble. Elizabeth’s mother died when she was ten years old. In the seventeenth century members of the Carter family were active in the parliamentary cause in the civil war; in the eighteenth they were loyal supporters of the monarchy.

Education and carrier

Every children of Nicolas Carter, a knowledgable linguist who published diverse sermons and pamphlets, was educated, boys as well as girls were raised to a high standard. Elizabeth, however, was a very slow learner at the beginning, so he proposed her to quit classical languages. Yet after struggling she became expert at Greek. “Samuel Johnson had said, speaking of some celebrated scholar, that he understood Greek better than any one whom he had ever known, except Elizabeth Carter” (Pennington, 1.13). She also helped Henry (her half-brother, son of Nicolas Carter’s second marriage, to Mary Bean) preparating for Cambridge in 1756. In order to continue with her studies she took some extreme measures. She had employed a sacristan to wake her up between 4 and 5 a.m. by pulling a twine fastened to a bell hanging over her bed. To prevent herself from falling asleep at night she used to chew green tea, wrap her head with wet towels, and inhale snuff ( finely powered tobacco), until she ended snuff dependent and vulnerable to painful headaches. By these methods, she first managed to learn Greek and Latin, then French, Hebrew, Spanish, and Italian. Later she even learned Arabic and Portuguese. At the age of twenty she studied German under her father’s recommendation, who wanted her to have a post at court. Although she refused to that court life, she enjoyed the

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